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Encyclopedia of the Solar System - 3rd Edition - ISBN: 9780124158450, 9780124160347

Encyclopedia of the Solar System

3rd Edition

Editors: Tilman Spohn Doris Breuer Torrence Johnson
Hardcover ISBN: 9780124158450
eBook ISBN: 9780124160347
Imprint: Elsevier
Published Date: 24th April 2014
Page Count: 1336
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The Encyclopedia of the Solar System, Third Edition—winner of the 2015 PROSE Award in Cosmology & Astronomy from the Association of American Publishers—provides a framework for understanding the origin and evolution of the solar system, historical discoveries, and details about planetary bodies and how they interact—with an astounding breadth of content and breathtaking visual impact. The encyclopedia includes the latest explorations and observations, hundreds of color digital images and illustrations, and over 1,000 pages. It stands alone as the definitive work in this field, and will serve as a modern messenger of scientific discovery and provide a look into the future of our solar system.

New additions to the third edition reflect the latest progress and growth in the field, including past and present space missions to the terrestrial planets, the outer solar systems and space telescopes used to detect extrasolar planets.

Key Features

  • Winner of the 2015 PROSE Award in Cosmology & Astronomy from the Association of American Publishers
  • Presents 700 full-color digital images and diagrams from current space missions and observatories, bringing to life the content and aiding in the understanding and retention of key concepts.
  • Includes a substantial appendix containing data on planetary missions, fundamental data of relevance for planets and satellites, and a glossary, providing immediately accessible mission data for ease of use in conducting further research or for use in presentations and instruction.
  • Contains an extensive bibliography, providing a guide for deeper studies into broader aspects of the field and serving as an excellent entry point for graduate students aiming to broaden their study of planetary science.


Scientists, teachers, interested laypeople, and students of planetary science, astronomy, astrophysics, planetary geology, meteorology, and atmospheric and magnetospheric sciences.

Table of Contents


I: The Solar System
1. The Solar System and its Place in the Galaxy
  Paul Weissmann
2. The Origin of the Solar System
  Alex Halliday and John Chambers
3. Solar System Dynamics: Regular and Chaotic Motion
  Jack Lissauer and Carl Murray

II: Fundamental Planetary Processes and Properties
4. Planetary Impacts
  Richard Grieve, Gordon Osinski and Leonardo Tornabene
5. Planetary Volcanism
  Lionel Wilson
6. Magnetic Field Generation
  Sabine Stanley
7. Planetary Magnetospheres
  Margaret Kivelson and Fran Bagenal
8. Solar System Dynamics: Rotation of the Planets
  Veronique Dehant
9. Evolution of Planetary Interiors
  Nicola Tosi
10. Astrobiology
  Chris McKay and Wanda Davis

III: The Sun
11. The Sun
  Markus Aschwanden
12. The Solar Wind
  John T. Gosling

IV: Earthlike Planets
13. Mercury
  Robert Strom, Scott Murchie, Ronald Vervack and Carolyn Ernst
14. Venus Atmosphere
  Fred W. Taylor
15. Venus: Surface and Interior
  Suzanne Smrekar and Ellen Stofan
16. Mars Atmosphere: History and Surface Interactions
  David Catling
17. Mars: Surface and Interior
  Michael Carr and Jim Bell
18. Mars Interior
  Tim Van Hoolst
19. Mars: Landing Site Geology, Minerology, and Geochemistry
  Matthew Golombeck and Harry McSween

V: Earth and Moon as Planets
20. Atmosphere and Oceans
  Adam Showman and Timothy Dowling
21. Surface and Interior
  David Pieri and Adam Dziewonski
22. Space Weather
  Janet Luhman and Stanley C. Solomon
23. The Moon
  Harald Hiesinger and Ralf Jaumann
24. Lunar Interior
  Renee Weber
25. Lunar Exploration
  Ian Crawford, Mahesh Anand and Katherine Joy

VI: Asteroids and Comets
26. Main-Belt Asteroids
  Daniel Britt and Guy Consolmagno
27. Near-Earth Objects
  Alan William Harris and Line Drube
28. Meteorites
  Michael Lipschutz and Ludolf Schultz
29. Solar System Dust
  Eberhard Grün and Harald Krüger
30. Physics and Chemistry of the Comets
  John Brandt
31. Comet Populations and Cometary Dynamics
  Harold Levision and Luke Dones

VII: Giant Planets and their Satellites
32. Atmospheres of the Giant Planets
  Robert West
33. Interiors of the Giant Planets
  Mark Marley and Jonathan Fortney
34. Planetary Satellites
  Bonnie Buratti and Peter Thomas
35. Io: The Volcanic Moon
  Rosaly M.C. Lopes
36. Europa
  Louise Prockter and Robert T. Pappalardo
37. Ganymede and Callisto
  Geoffrey Collins and Torrence Johnson
38. Titan
  Athena Coustenis
39. Enceladus
  Carolyn Porco and Francis Nimmo
40. Triton
  William B. McKinnon and Randolph Kirk
41. Planetary Rings
  Matthew S. Tiscareno and Matt Hedman

VIII: Beyond the Planets
42. Pluto
43. Kuiper Belt: Dynamics
  Alessandro Morbidelli and Harold Levision
44. Kuiper Belt Objects: Physical Studies
  Steven Tegler
45. Extra Solar Planets
  Michael Endl

IX: Exploring the Solar System
46. Strategies of Modern Solar System Exploration
  Berndt Feuerbacher and Bernhard Hufenbach
47. A History of Solar System Studies
  Ulrich Koehler
48. X-Rays in the Solar System
  Anil Bhardwaj and Carey Lisse
49. The Solar System at Ultraviolet Wavelenghts
  Amanda Hendrix, Robert Nelson and Deborah Domingue
50. Infrared Views of the Solar System from Space
  Mark Sykes
51. New Generation Ground-Based Optical/Infrared Telescopes
  Alan Tokunaga and Robert Jedicke
52. The Solar System at Radio Wavelengths
  Imke de Pater
53. Planetary Radar
  Catherine Neish and Lynn Carter
54. Remote Chemical Sensing Using Nuclear Spectroscopy
  Thomas H. Prettyman
55. Probing the Interiors of Planets with Geophysical Tools
  William Bruce Banerdt, Suzanne Smrekar, Veronique Dehant, Philippe Lognonne and Matthias Grott
56. Planetary Exploration Missions
  James Burke
57. Stereophotogrammetry
  Jürgen Oberst, Klaus Gwinner and Frank Preusker
Mission Table
  Tilman Spohn
Physical Constants
  Tilman Spohn
Planetary Data
  Tilman Spohn
List of Satellites
  Tilman Spohn



No. of pages:
© Elsevier 2014
24th April 2014
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Editors

Tilman Spohn

Tilman Spohn

Tilman Spohn is director of the Institute of Planetary Research of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin, Germany and Professor of Planetology at theWestfa¨lische Wilhelms-University Mu¨nster, Germany. He specializes in the Thermodynamics of Planetary Interiors and in physical problems of Astrobiology and has written 140 papers for scientific journals and books. He is a Principal Investigator (PI) for MUPUS on the Rosetta Lander Philae, for BELA on BepiColombo, and the instrument PI for HP3 on the InSight mission. Spohn has served as member and chairperson of ESA scientific working and advisory groups and is presently a member of ESA’s HISPAC. He is the chairman of the science committee of the international Space Science Institute and has served as editor for Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Reviews of Geophysics, and the Treatise on Geophysics. He is the recipient of the 2013 EGU Runcorn-Florensky Medal and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

Affiliations and Expertise

DLR Institut fur Planetenforschung, Berlin, Germany

Doris Breuer

Doris Breuer

Doris Breuer is Head of the Department of Planetary Physics at the Institute of Planetary Research of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin, Germany and an Associate Professor at the Institute de Physique du Globe de Paris, France. She specializes in the interior dynamics, thermo-chemical evolution and interior structure of terrestrial bodies. She has published over 60 articles in refereed journals, has been coinvestigator on ESA’s BepiColombo mission and has served on several ESA science definition teams and on the ESA Solar System Working Group.

Affiliations and Expertise

Institut für Planetenforschung, Berlin, Germany

Torrence Johnson

Torrence Johnson

Torrence V. Johnson is a specialist on icy satellites in the solar system. He has written over 130 publications for scientific journals. He received a Ph.D. in planetary science from the California Institute of Technology and is now the Chief Scientist for Solar System Exploration at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He was the Project Scientist for the Galileo mission and is currently an investigator on the Cassini mission. He is the recipient of two NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medals and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Padua, where Galileo made his first observations of the solar system.

Affiliations and Expertise

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA


2015 PROSE Awards - Winner, Cosmology and Astronomy: Association of American Publishers, Encyclopedia of the Solar System

2015 PROSE Award in Cosmology & Astronomy, Association of American Publishers


"Huge efforts have been made to explain observations and theories clearly and succinctly and to bring the reader up to date. I recommend the book without reservation." --The Observatory

"This exciting summation of more than 50 years of continuing space exploration will appeal to scientists and enthusiasts alike. Summing Up: Highly recommended." --Choice

"Everything you want to know about the solar system is here. ...This is the perfect reference book, lavishly illustrated and well-written." --From the Foreword by Wesley T. Huntress, JR., Carnegie Institute of Washington

"The authors succeed brilliantly at combining the latest results from spacecraft missions and Earth-based observations with thoughtful interpretations of the processes." --Maria T. Zuber, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ratings and Reviews